Alicia Vitarelli talks with the star of Arlo the Alligator Boy

American Idol is down to the top 12 this season and has always found stars and provided them a platform to shine. This is certainly true for an East Falls native who is now starring in his first featured film, thanks to his incredible work on the show.

Video Transcript

ALICIA VITARELLI: It's "Arlo the Alligator Boy",


ALICIA VITARELLI: Michael J. Woodard.


ALICIA VITARELLI: Our friend, our bae, our boo from East Falls. We miss you over here, but you are--

MICHAEL J WOODARD: I miss y'all too.

ALICIA VITARELLI: --just doing your thing out in Cali. Look at you.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: Alicia, I am trying. I'm trying to do the darn thing.

ALICIA VITARELLI: You're doing it. You're doing it. I love this.


ALICIA VITARELLI: Congratulations. So coming out--


ALICIA VITARELLI: --Friday, April 16.


ALICIA VITARELLI: "Arlo the Alligator Boy" on Netflix. You are the lead title role.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: Yes, Alicia. Oh my God.

- My name's Arlo Beauregard.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: While I was filming "American Idol", little did I know that producers from Netflix were watching the show. And little-- also little did I know were they, they were focused on me throughout the show. I got this email two weeks after the finale that people from Netflix were looking to get in contact with me. And next thing you know I'm in Paramount Studios in Hollywood reading these lines off the page and being told shortly after that I would be playing Arlo on this Netflix movie.

- This is your adventure.

- (SINGING) But I want more, more, more, because I know that I can have it.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Pinch me, right? It's like, pinch me.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: It is like pinch me, I'm dreaming every day, Alicia. Every day. It's unreal. It's unreal.

ALICIA VITARELLI: So tell me about Arlo and why do you-- Tell me about Arlo and why you think they saw you in this character.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: Yeah. Well, the producers told me-- of the Arlo movie, they told me that-- do you remember when I first got my Hollywood ticket and I said something like, yes, let's go. And then I, like, continued to walk on to audition. They told me that just from that clip alone, they knew that they wanted me to portray the part.

And I think it's because, like, of my-- you know, the joy that I have and kind of like the natural positivity that I carry with me throughout life. And I guess the huge amount of energy that I bring with me when I go everywhere. I think they took all of that into account and thought that I would be best to portray this character.

And you have to hear the director really talk about it, because he really breaks it down, why I was chosen. But I think with those little sentiments that I just gave, really covered why I was chosen to portray the role. And then, Alicia, I do want to tell you what the movie's about too.

ALICIA VITARELLI: I was going to say, because it sounds to me--


ALICIA VITARELLI: --just like you, Arlo exudes joy and is an optimist.



MICHAEL J WOODARD: Absolutely. You know, it is something that me and Arlo, for Arlo and I, it's something that we don't try to do. I think we just naturally have this bright eyed, bushy tailed outlook for life that we just can't help. And I think the fact that I'm even referring to both of us as we, like, we're some type of interlocked or inter-joined beings, me and him both. But we kind of are. But he just-- he goes through life on this journey of trying to find something that he's looking for and in order to do that, he has to leave a place that he's so familiar with to go to a place that he's unfamiliar with.

- You're old enough to know the truth.

- I have a dad from a city called New York.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: And that resonates with me because it's like me leaving Philadelphia to come to Los Angeles in search of my dream and in hopes to having my dreams come true. I know, Alicia. And so, watching this movie, for the people that know me, they'll be like, dang, OK. I'm about to cry three seconds in because I'm familiar with Michael's struggle of leaving Philadelphia and going to a place that he's unfamiliar with.

ALICIA VITARELLI: This is what it sounds like. This is the perfectly timed movie.


ALICIA VITARELLI: It's the pick me up we need because, truth be told, everyone is on a journey right now. We're all in the unknown somewhere feeling--


ALICIA VITARELLI: --out of place and trying to find our way. Right?


ALICIA VITARELLI: One thing that we can count on is the joy-- the little joy that we can find to--


ALICIA VITARELLI: --lift ourselves up Arlo style.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: Yes. I will say that this movie does that, not only for me, but I think it's going to do that for everyone. I think the times that we're in now, we definitely need positive content to uplift us and kind of bring us back to that positive space. And I think that Arlo is doing that in such a impactful and tremendous way.

- (SINGING) Follow, follow, follow me home.

ALICIA VITARELLI: What do we learn from Arlo?


ALICIA VITARELLI: What are the lessons?

MICHAEL J WOODARD: Alicia, so much. So much. I think one is self discovery. I think that that's a journey that we've all been on. Some people might still be on that journey, but self discovery, self love. I think the sentiment in knowing that it's OK to be different.

ALICIA VITARELLI: That's what makes us special. We know that.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: That's what makes us special. And also, Alicia, I wanted to say, it shows that everybody is on this constant journey of growth. But it lets you know to carry confidence with you and to know at the end of the day, that you will get to where you're trying to go.

Growing is OK, but you should carry those things like confidence and hope and love and peace with you. You know? Those things aren't eliminated when you're on a journey of growth, you know? So that's what I wanted to say.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And of course, it's a musical.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: It's a musical. (SINGING) Look at me, look at you. Don't you see we can move with it.

- (SINGING) Take my hand, I'm here today. It's a chance, leap of faith. What it be what we do with it.

ALICIA VITARELLI: This is what I love about "American Idol" and you were on the first season on here on ABC. This is a real show. I say this to people all the time. This is a real show to find real people where everyone can just see your real talent shine through.



MICHAEL J WOODARD: Thank you so much. Thank you. You put it all into perspective with that exactly. It's, I think, us as contestants, we have to-- Or I'll just speak from me personally, just me being a prior contestant of the show. You have to realize the platform that you're given early on.

So, Alicia, when you had that realization when you're watching the show, I had to, like, figure that out in real time, like, while I was on the show. Because it's really about-- It's not about what happens in that moment of being a part of the show. It's what happens afterwards.


MICHAEL J WOODARD: You have to be in the moment and you have to give your best, but you have to realize that the audience that you are in front of now, make sure that you set the precedents for who you are. Because this journey continues on, pretty much, your career. So I think with those-- with that in mind, I definitely went about handling this show with that in mind, for sure. Just maybe some people saw my personality and saw me for who I was. And I think I accomplished that and look at where it got me, you know?

Look at where showing my talent unapologetically, my personality unapologetically. Look where it gets you and look where it got me. And I'm grateful for the platform. "American Idol" is amazing. I'm so grateful.

ALICIA VITARELLI: It really Is. And isn't it so funny that here you come to hear that the moment that you got that golden ticket, how you said-- What did you say?

MICHAEL J WOODARD: I think I said, yes. Yes, let's go. Or something like that, Alicia.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Right. And here you are in this one moment getting the golden ticket, like, getting your chance on the show. Netflix is watching. You never know who's watching. You never know what the universe is picking up from you.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: You never know, Alicia. That's why you have to take advantage of every moment. Because you don't know. You really don't know what can come from things.

Things like being in front of millions of people. It's one of those things where you got to, like, accept the calling and, you know, give it your best. But I'm happy that it's doing that for people and I'm happy that I will continue to do that for people.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And we are watching back here in Philly with so much pride. We are so excited. Get on your Netflix. "Arlo the Alligator Boy", East Falls on Michael J. Woodard. "American Idol" alum, top five.


ALICIA VITARELLI: And now a feature film star.

MICHAEL J WOODARD: Oh, Alicia. I'm so excited. Thank you, guys. I love you--